This is false.Problem is that any projects going through any form of design-build aren't "shovel-ready", because nobody's in the office at the workstations advancing any of the design work. That's unfortunately one of the few computing tasks you just can't reasonably do while squinting at the 12-inch screen of an underpowered take-home laptop on some civil engineer's kitchen table. They'll go crosseyed trying to update renders that way, and anything that requires AutoCAD or plugging real engineering load-bearing numbers into a structural analysis requires too much processing power to do away from the workstation. This is even affecting stuff that's in final-final design revisions on the cusp of being *true* shovel-ready, like Winchester Center ADA + renovations.
Everyone is finding out their bandwidth shortfalls brutally right now. Unfortunately if your VPN is only set up to reliably support X number of home workers and you are suddenly--within a week's time way too short to order anything to cope--required to support X * Y home users...it's slow & ugly kludge-ville trying to do real work over 4G cellular and having your workflow crippled by latency issues. Shit, you can't even watch Netflix at full resolution in your leisure because of how much load everyone's Zoom time has put on the backend-most Internet infrastructure; they've had to downsample around the traffic spike.Funny enough the only engineers not remoting in are MassDOT employees. There aren’t enough VPNs to go around so most are just using their personal devices...
This is true of many state agencies that are stuck in 1994, technology wise.Funny enough the only engineers not remoting in are MassDOT employees. There aren’t enough VPNs to go around so most are just using their personal devices...
Careful about reading too broadly into this! That was a previously awarded shovel-ready contract with already-set work windows. They are only rebooting the work windows; all other logistics have already long been in place. Moreover, the whole reason why the work windows were "controversial" in the first place is that the work involved required noisy pile-driving that could only be done during daytime hours, not on an overnight shift. The previous schedule of work windows had that pile-driving condensed to only a couple hours per day around lunchtime to minimize noise impact to area businesses, which required that daily schedule to stretch on for months and months. With all local businesses now vacant, they have decided to do the "rip the band-aid" off approach and basically extend the loud racket to all daylight hours. Few abutters will be inconvenienced because they're all home, but the job can wrap months sooner so their pain will be brief once they are back to work. That is the only reason why the City Council agreed to this reboot; all impacted parties have already been previously removed from the picture by the stay-at-home order.FYI
"With reduced vehicular and pedestrian traffic due to the COVID-19 emergency, City Council has approved an accelerated construction timeline for the Metro Purple Line Project resulting in a temporary full closure of Wilshire Blvd. to begin in the coming days. "
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andover_station_(MBTA) says Andover has two tracks, one side platform, so isn't the solution there to just build a full length high level platform adjacent to only one track for the commuter trains, and let Amtrak and the freights use the platformless track?Haverhill Line on the Pan Am freight main, for instance, is never going to be able to do more than retractable-edge mini-highs at Ballardvale and Andover (which are not abandonable stops, being in vibrant village centers) because their positions direct-abutting grade crossings rule out freight gauntlet tracks.
Reconfiguring Haverhill to have a platform adjacent to only one of the two tracks might be possible if there was somewhere to the north to turn around commuter trains.Haverhill Station may also have a problem there accepting a gauntlet because of the adjacent install of guard rail on the Merrimack River Bridge approach.
The second platform is going to be built as a matching full 800 ft. length mini-high once the Town of Andover DPW yard next door moves across town. The relocation is agreed-upon, but delayed by intra-Andover problems. T's isn't in any tremendous hurry there, so it'll get done when it gets done.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andover_station_(MBTA) says Andover has two tracks, one side platform, so isn't the solution there to just build a full length high level platform adjacent to only one track for the commuter trains, and let Amtrak and the freights use the platformless track?
And couldn't Ballardvale be made double track with a full length high level platform on only one track in a similar fashion?
The T is planning to relocate out of Bradford Layover to a new yard by the state line, as Bradford is too small and is a longstanding noise/fumes Environmental Justice target for the surrounding neighborhood. A site on the Haverhill side of the state line by the Hilldale Ave. industrial park--once under consideration for layover Alternates with the Plaistow Extension before NH canceled it--has been purchased with ground clearing beginning last Fall with a $5M starter grant announced last June. They do not yet have the subsequent funding installments to equip the new yard and set a date for when relocation from Bradford will be complete, but that is now secured and at they have at least been able to turn shovels on the land prep tasks while they await the next funding allotment.Reconfiguring Haverhill to have a platform adjacent to only one of the two tracks might be possible if there was somewhere to the north to turn around commuter trains.
Maybe Tony's Used Auto Parts on Rosemont St in Haverhill could be persuaded to move elsewhere so the T could take over that lot, and perhaps that lot could have three island platforms surrounded by a total of six tracks built as a layover and boarding area, along with a parking lot for daily parking by commuters, if Plaistow still doesn't want a train station?
Is the plan at these stations a full length high level platform on one side and a full length low platform on the other side with a mini high, or low with mini-high on both sides?The second platform is going to be built as a matching full 800 ft. length mini-high once the Town of Andover DPW yard next door moves across town. The relocation is agreed-upon, but delayed by intra-Andover problems. T's isn't in any tremendous hurry there, so it'll get done when it gets done.
Ballardvale needs real estate easement acquisition before its second platform--likewise an 800 ft. low w/ mini-high--is built. It's planned, but 2nd Andover platform is the more critical get so nobody's in a hurry.
Both of these platforms have permanent exemptions from the Mass Architectural Board for mini-highs w/ retractable edges, because this is the Portland freight main with considerable high-and-wide traffic. Gauntlet tracks can't be built here because of the adjacent grade crossings being excessive derailment risk for a gauntlet with winter ice accumulation in the flanges, and there is no surrounding room for tri-track passers.
Lots of freights. Lowell Jct. south of Ballardvale to Portland is the PAR freight main. You won't have :15 passenger trains to Haverhill to begin with since this is pretty far outside the Route 128 demarcation between hyper-frequent Urban Rail and regular old :30-turn Regional Rail...so Haverhill slots will be half-hourly at most like nearly everything out in 495 land. The presence of freights, which need a healthy dose of midday off-peak slots because they hold off during rush, means that Haverhill, compared to all other RUR schedules, may have slightly less regularity in its clock-facing frequencies. :30 is still the overall target, but I would not be surprised if there were some :45's lightly gapping the off-peak rotations. Absolute perfection was never promised to begin with, and the resulting frequencies are still amazingly full so that's no real-world problem, but this is one of those schedules that has to bend a little bit to reality. The unexpandable 2-track Western main from Lowell Jct. to Lawrence Yard is some of the most congested track in the entire state, with no bypass options available.Is the plan at these stations a full length high level platform on one side and a full length low platform on the other side with a mini high, or low with mini-high on both sides?
How many freight trains per day pass through these stations?
With enough new interlockings, would there be anything particularly hard about having one train every 15 minutes in each direction share a single full length high level platform for both directions?
It doesn't matter; they're not doing that. They have the MAB exemption in-hand for both stations to construct duplicate mini-highs on Track 2. That's what they're doing. No crossover games fed into a crapshoot as to whether everything's running on-time (because counting on Pan Am to run on-time is a fool's game). 2 tracks, 2 platforms, 2 mini-highs: that's the plan. They have the gapped full-high option to explore at some later date when they have the compatible cars for it and can perma-solve a more equitable solution.If we had double track from Lowell Jct to the southern end of the Lawrence yard, a full length high level platform on the west track at both Ballardvale and Andover, and no platform on the eastern track at those two stations, a crossover for northbound commuter trains to move from the eastern track to the western track just south of Tewksbury St in Andover, a crossover facing the other way for freight trains just to the south of that, a crossover just to the north of both the Ballardvale platform and the Andover platform to allow a northbound commuter train to move from the platform to the eastern track, and a crossover just to the south of Essex St in Andover to allow a northbound train to get to the Andover platform from the eastern track, I suspect 15 minute rush hour headways with no freight is possible, with 30 minute mid day headways with freight.
Again...the Rail Vision is NOT considering any 15-minute headways out in 495-land. Not even the kitchen-sink Alternative 6. Absolutely nowhere in the entire process and advocacy for RUR did anyone ever say :15 to the foot of the NH State Line was a thing we should be shooting for. The service proposal is for :30 frequencies on Lowell and Haverhill, interlined out to Wilmington for :15 coverage within Route 128...but 30-minute turns where the lines fork after that. The North Station throat can't handle 15 minutes to all five 495-land schedules to begin with, so right then and there it's moot. But also zero...nada...zilch calculated demand data the Rail Vision is based on points to a need for 15 minute turns that far outside of town. The last-mile feeders flat-out don't exist to sustain that kind of density. 30 minutes is a threshold that'll attract riders. Twice that service level is a loss leader nobody can afford right now. I don't know where the idea came from that we need to crack the nut that gets 15-minute turns to all the hour-long schedules. Literally no one nowhere has ID'd that as a foreseable need.I think the key to 15 minute headways would be to have each northbound commuter train scheduled to arrive at Ballardvale at the same time a southbound commuter train arrives at Andover. When a Downeaster is nearby, the Downeaster would use the eastern track, and whichever commuter train was going in the same direction as the Downeaster would use the eastern track to move between Ballardvale and Andover, with the commuter train going in the opposite direction of the Downeaster using the western track; when no Downeaster is around, having the peak direction train using the western track probably slightly improves comfort and speed for the predominant direction by avoiding the diverging moves through the crossovers.
No, it's not. The Trillium Line isn't a mainline commuter RR with meets in mixed freight and intercity traffic 25 miles outside the CBD. It's a 5-mile, 5-station only light rail line inside city limits running DLRV vehicles on time separation from all other forms of line traffic, same as the NJ Transit RIVERLine. Nothing could be more unalike to the Purple Line or scaling therein. The Reading Line is going to do :15 turns with all of Malden still being single-track, but the only ways it achieves that is by Haverhill thru service vacating to the Lowell Line, Reading Jct. in Somerville being modded for a 2 x 2 track split, Wellington passing siding being upgraded and lengthened, 2nd track being extended 1/4 mile from Ash St. Reading through the Reading platform, and North Wilmington being swapped over to the Wildcat with Haverhill schedules. Reading will be 2 segments of single-track 1 mile & 2 miles respectively...and 3 segments of double: 0.4 miles, 0.75 miles, and 6.3 miles. That's the minimum comfortable for managing a 12-mile Urban Rail schedule with 8 stations, conventional equipment, no other on-line traffic sources, and 1.8 miles of co-running with the Eastern Route in Somerville. And that is the only stretch of single track on the system where they will be running 15-minute turns. All others are pre-existing DT mains, and the Old Colony is flat-out omitted from RUR except for some token off-peak backfills because it's not capable until somebody comes up with the $$$ for a Dorchester-Quincy ROW widening.15 minute headways with mostly single tracking is possible:
Stop. They are not doing this. The plan is locked-in. They are not reconsidering what they are doing.After I wrote that, I realized that the Ballardvale platform and parking lot are currently on the east side of the track, not the west side of the track.
That makes me think we should pursue one full length high level platform on the west track at Andover Station and one full length high level platform on the east track at Ballardville, no platform on the opposite track at each station, double tracking all the way from Lowell Junction to the Lawrence yard, and several of crossovers:
a universal interlocking just to the north of the Ballardvale platform
a universal interlocking just to the south of Essex St in Andover
a crossover allowing a northbound train to get from the western track to the eastern track just to the north of the Andover Station platform, and another crossover facing the same way just to the north of the yard lead switch
a crossover allowing a southbound train to get from the eastern track to the western track just south of Tewksbury St in Andover, and another facing the same way a bit to the south of where a freight train headed to Lowell branches away from the freight track but probably to the north of Lowell Jct Rd.
With that, all Amtrak Downeaster trains should normally be able to stay on the right hand track.
Northbound commuter trains would normally be on the right hand track except in the immediate vicinity of Andover Station, but when a freight train is present on the eastern track just south of the Lawrence yard might use the western track to get around that freight train.
Southbound commuter trains would normally be on the right hand track except in the vicinity of Ballardvale station, and could use the crossover just south of Tewksbury St in Andover when the nearest train is a northbound commuter train, or the crossover just south of the Lowell Junction switch when there's a freight train in that area.
Northbound freight trains would have to use the left hand track from Lowell Junction to just north of the Ballardvale platform, after which they should stay on the right hand track all the way to the yard.
Southbound freight trains would use the left hand track from the yard to the interlocking just south of Essex St, where they'd move to the right hand track to continue to Lowell Junction.
No, it wouldn't. Because the OTP of the T's and Amtrak's and especially Pan Am's is nowhere near robust enough to play bugfark crossover games in this statewide worst spot for midday congestion amongst all 3 carriers and not have the schedule shit the bed multiple times per week when somebody gets in the way. This isn't even the T's railroad to dispatch; Pan Am dispatch is calling the shots all points north of Lowell Jct. You can't stake perfect laboratory-condition timings to a too-many-chefs riddled stretch of track like this.A single full length high level platform at each station would be better for wheelchair accessibility than having an inferior platform on one or both sides, and any gap filler thing becomes a new thing for the T to maintain that might introduce new maintenance challenges. The T has plenty of experience maintaining crossovers, even if sometimes they're a challenge in the winter...